how-to resolve UI issues with(out) shopping therapy

As I reported here and there in the forum, I had some trouble coming to terms with the user interface of devon think Pro. Since last week, my UI issues have mostly vanished: With quite a few pressing deadlines looming, I decided to upgrade my tiny 13’’ macbook screen to a luxury Samsung wide-screen monitor (205BW but try others) with nearly double as much screen estate.

I noticed an immediate difference in using in DevonThink, but not so much in other programs. In scrivener, for example, I work in a smaller window now, with the isolator app in the background. With iTunes, Safari and Mail it’s the same. With DT however, I fill the whole screen so easily that I wonder how I could ever have done any work on my macbook.

Probably the first frustration in using DT does not result so much from bad UI design, but from the simple fact that you cannot expect have a vast amount of information at your fingertips while simultaneously saving on screen real estate. Take, for example, the two-pane-view (no.4) with a pdf document active in the middle area the “see also”-drawer open plus the information window floating around (plus group panel). Looking at this setting is a different cup of tea than looking at a zen garden.

But is the amount of information the only reason? I still wonder, why the info and the group window have to stand in the way. Even with a 1680 x 1050 resolution, they often float above something important. This does not happen in iPhoto, for example, where the equivalent of the info panel is built into the left pane and it is easier to scroll down the group list while looking at the info.

These issues of “UI-tweaking” were much more of an issue for me on the tiny laptop screen (or “notebook”, as it is too hot for the lap) as it is now, but I wonder if the possibility of small screen sizes should be a consideration in UI design.

Anyway, the more you put into your database the more you want to see, so at the moment I heartily recommend a huge monitor for the best DTPO experience. Bottom line: shoping therapy helps a lot until 2.0.


I think the See also and Classify panels should be detached and made floating with custom transparency. The user experience would probably improve.